OSLO, Norway --DNV is seeing a tenfold increase in demand for seismic vessel classifications compared to previous years.
DNV says the strong demand coupled with high prices has pushed new-build activity up from almost zero a couple of years ago. For example, DNV says, in 2004 there was one seismic vessel under construction awaiting classification, but there are 20 under construction today.
To meet the demand, DNV notes that the conversion business is booming as a way to bypass the limited new-build capacity at shipyards. In 2006, it says 10 ships were converted to seismic use compared to none in 2004. This year, five have been converted and await classification with eight more under going conversion construction.
"It is paramount for the ship owners to obtain the seismographic vessels quickly in order to benefit from the high demand from the oil companies," says Head of Conversions in DNV Maritime Arild Rogne. "Even though rates are currently high, it is hard to predict the market trend and future developments. Thus, newbuildings are a more risky strategy than conversions."